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Cancer's Unrecognized Toll: Patients' Time

The Washington Post runs an AP wire story reporting: Cancer's Unrecognized Toll: Time

The hours spent sitting in doctors' waiting rooms, in line for the CT scan, watching chemotherapy drip into veins: Battling cancer steals a lot of time -- at least $2.3 billion worth for patients in the first year of treatment alone.

So says the first study to try to put a price tag to the time that people spend being treated for 11 of the most common cancers.

Even more sobering than the economic toll are the tallies, by government researchers, of the sheer hours lost to cancer care: 368 hours in that first year after diagnosis with ovarian cancer; 272 hours being treated for lung cancer, 193 hours for kidney cancer.


Medical News Today reports: Burden Of US Cancer Care Is Billions When You Add Up Patient Time

A new type of study into the cost of patients' time associated with cancer care in the US suggests that the annual figure could exceed 2 billion dollars for the first year following a diagnosis.

The study is published in today's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The researchers, led by Dr Yabroff of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), used data covering 11 types of cancer from 760,000 patients whose records are in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Medicare database. The records spanned 1995 to 2001. They also looked at information on 1.1 million Medicare members who did not have cancer for comparison.

The key question they tried to answer, in different ways, was how much extra time does having treatments for cancer, as opposed to non-cancer treatments, cost the average patient? This extra time they termed "net hours". They estimated figures based on net hours and net costs by multiplying the hours by the median US wage rate (using the 2002 value of 15.23 dollars per hour).




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